Author Interview: ‘Time’s Orphan’ by Hayley Reese Chow

About the Book:

Speak of pain, and I’ll tell you of the Time who stole it away…

Besieged by war, ravaged by monsters, and crawling with the undead, the land of Okarria is dying. Seventeen-year-old Emara survives by using her modest healing gift to save as many as she can while eluding the invaders who thirst for her enchanted blood.

So when a cursed cat saves her life and reveals Emara is the legendary Time Heir the necromancer king’s been searching for, she agrees to act as bait in a plot to destroy him. But when the plan goes horrifically awry, Emara must discover how deep her powers go, what she can change…

And what she cannot.

Unfortunately, Time Heirs have a history of getting killed, and with Okarria’s future on the line, Emara may have no choice but to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.

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Purchase Links:

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The man leapt down and grabbed another one of the captives slated for meat—a young blond girl this time, barely more than a child, with tears running down her pale cheeks. The Rastgol took a serrated knife from the curly hide of his vest.

“Wait!” Emara held out her bound hands, her stomach twisting with acid. “You don’t have to hurt—”

The Rastgol plunged his knife into the girl’s back, blood dripping over his hand. The girl shrieked as he tossed her to the ground and pointed his crimson knife at Emara.

“Let t’us see it then.” He licked the blood from his knife with a long tongue. “If she dies, so do you both.”

A shove from behind sent Emara sprawling to the grass, and she crawled toward the girl, tears now flowing down her own face. Perhaps the Time Heir could heal such a mortal injury, but her gift was nowhere near strong enough.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you,” she whispered as the girl gurgled on the ground, blood spilling from her mouth. Her breath coming too fast, Emara lifted the hem of the girl’s filthy shirt and put her hands over the jagged wound. The excruciating pain flooded through her, and she gritted her teeth as she summoned the yanaa to beat it back. She screwed her eyes shut, sweat beading on her forehead while she tried to knit together skin, blood, muscle, and tissue.

Even as she worked, Yaya and her mother’s voices yelled at her through her memories.

Emara, it is a curse, not a gift.

Blood seeped through her hands—too much—she had to stop the bleeding.

It only draws evil. You must never use it.

Her muscles burned as she dredged her yanaa from every piece of herself, forcing it into the girl.

Forget you even have it.

The girl was slipping, the life in her ebbing away even as Emara tried to claw it back, her whole body trembling with the effort. 

Stop, Emara! Someone will see!

And then something brushed her side, warm and soft, and a small paw alighted on her knee. “You can do this. Odriel has blessed you with the strength. Now, you must use it to save us all.”

The earnest, rough desperation in his voice woke something in her. Something stoked at warm fires barely remembered. Tales of old heroes and battles barely won. A part of her long buried that had once been sure and safe. 

With the swelling churn of bittersweet sorrow, her yanaa burst forth in a broad surge, coating the girl with hope and despair and purpose. She wouldn’t die here. Emara wouldn’t let her.

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

Hi! Thanks so much for having me! I’m Hayley, a mechanical engineer by trade and an indie/small press author by passion. I’ve always been obsessed with books, and when I graduated college and suddenly had a lot of free time on my hands, I was reading everything I could get my hands on. But I still felt like I couldn’t find the exact book I was looking for. So, on a word of advice from my dad, I decided to write it myself! I actually never intended to publish, and when life got busy, I put it aside for a while, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and finally in 2017 after my first son was born, I decided to pick it back up. I’ve been hooked on writing ever since!

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I’ve always been a night owl, but as a mom of two small kids these days, I’ll take any time and place I can get! As long as I have my laptop, a cup of tea, and my headphones, I’m ready to go. If I had to pick a favourite though, it would definitely be curled up on the couch with a blanket and my dog as I write late into the night. Though the treadmill is becoming an old standby these days.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere! I love doing very short story prompts on Twitter and the NYC Midnight Challenge, and those have a serious habit of growing into full-length novel ideas. I’ve also definitely had inspiration come from dreams, or even just random bolts of plot-lightning! It’s gotten to the point now where my to-be-written list is now nearly overflowing. Which is kind of ironic, since originally, I never intended to write more than one book.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

With every book, I have become more of a plotter, so I definitely start with a very specific plan. Which is totally not to say that the story always politely sticks to that plan. I’ve definitely been churning out the first draft only to trip over a plot twist I never saw coming. But honestly, that’s one of my favourite parts about writing –  getting to know the characters and going on their adventure with them, surprises and all.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

So far, my books can mostly fall into the young adult science fiction/fantasy adventure bucket. Though I read widely across genre and age categories, YA SFF is what first turned me into a true, no-kidding bookworm when I was around 12 or 13, and to be honest, I don’t think my reading tastes have changed all that much since then. So I think in a way, I’m almost always writing for my 12-year-old self who craved high-stakes, dangerous adventures through new worlds served with a side of sweet romance.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

This question is always so hard! To make it a little easier, I’m going to pretend like these actors and actresses would all be age appropriate for the Time’s Orphan characters. Yara Shahidi would be Emara, Aramis Knight would be Jai, Gal Gadot for Aza, Matthias Schoenaerts for Makeo, and Charlize Theron for Ivanora.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read about 60ish books a year, and some of my many favourite authors at the moment are Blake Crouch, Ilona Andrews, Jeff Wheeler, Darynda Jones, Ken Follett, and Brigid Kemmerer.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Right now, I’m listening to Book Lovers by Emily Henry on audiobook (and loving it.) I’m also enjoying A Curse of Hope and Shadows by Katherine MacDonald.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Nooo!!! You’re going to make me pick ONE!?! So cruel and unusual. I find this one especially difficult considering how different books seem to impact us harder at different times in our lives. Weirdly, in my mind, the first book I always think of is The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip. I was around 12 or 13 when I read it and was completely blown away. Sabriel by Garth Nyx also made an intense impression on me at that age, so they both hold a special place in my heart, and I think they’ve both hugely impacted my writing.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I daydreamed on and off about being a writer since I was in middle school or maybe even before then. I worried that I wasn’t creative enough, that I didn’t have anything to really say, that I wasn’t qualified… the list goes on. I would make up stories and characters in my head, but never felt the need to write them down even as my friends encouraged me.

So to anyone that’s thinking about it: throw those worries out the window, give it a try, and have fun. That’s really what it’s all about.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can usually find me lurking on Twitter, posting on Instagram, and goofing off on TikTok, so you can definitely catch me on any of those! I love to connect with readers and writers, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any bookish questions!

Twitter: @HayleyReeseChow



About the Author:

Hayley Reese Chow is the author of Odriel’s Heirs, the 2020 winner of the Florida Author Project and 5th place finalist in the 2021 Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards. She is also the author of Into the Churn, a romantic YA sci-fi coming from Whimsical Publishing in April 2023.

Until recently though, she’s mostly done a lot of things that have nothing at all to do with writing. Her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100 mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, book inhaler, and super nerd.

Hayley currently lives in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering husband, and her miniature ragehound.

But at night, when the house is still, she writes.

To find Hayley’s other stories and see what she’s working on next, check out You can also find her on Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram @HayleyReeseChow.


1 Comment

Filed under Author Interview, Reading Nook Blog Posts

One response to “Author Interview: ‘Time’s Orphan’ by Hayley Reese Chow

  1. Pingback: Patricia A. McKillip’s beautiful THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD is a favorite - Tachyon Publications

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